Generally spin-offs of shows that feature the original characters have a tendency to go into the past, from The Flintstone Kids to Muppet Babies and beyond. Going into the future is much less common, but not unprecedented; Disney did it with Quack Pack, growing up Hue, Dew and Lu by several years for more adventures and Warner Bros. did it with Batman Beyond, turning Bruce Wayne into an old - though still capable - man. Rugrats isnít alone in its premise, but All Grown Up really didnít have that much of an option, its characters were already babies, the future was the way a spin-off series with them could go (unless they took loopís advice and went with turning them into foetuses).
So the future it is then, although it has really only been nine years. Tommy and most of the characters are now ten, Chuckieís eleven and Angelicaís twelve going on thirteen (and good luck to her parents when she hits her teenage years). Their new ages make a misnomer of the title, which to me would almost imply that the characters were adults - apart from the fact that no adult I know would use that phrase of words - but I suppose Tommy School years or such just wouldnít have quite the same vibe.
Their new ages allow them to talk to the grown ups, a feat previously allowed for Angelica, Suzie and, to a lesser degree, Chuckie. This is in some ways welcomed, but isnít going to be breaking any ground, especially seeing as the adults werenít quite as interesting even in Rugrats as the titular characters and seem to be reduced even further to their idiosyncrasies here.
All Grown Up is less imaginative than its predecessor and it might as well be a cast of unknowns for all the generic mush it tries to fit in. Thatís it biggest problem, in aging the characters to preteens the show has basically just become another standard fare preteen series; getting lost in the crowd in the process as it doesnít seem to be bothered with clever writing or anything like that, hoping that association will breed affection for the known characters.
The animation is cleaner that the original Rugrats, but it lacks the character that the original style has, and like it or hate it, at least it had one. Here the animation is flat, which may sound like a strange thing to say about 2D animation, but means that the characters donít look like they belong in the same space as the background rather than look as if theyíve just been placed on the top of them. There is, in short, no spatial awareness or weight in the artwork.
Itís a shadow of the show that it is a spin-off of, unfortunately the original show lost something as it went on and by this point was also a tad shaded by its former charms. All Grown Up then, is a shadow of a shadow, which while having moments, also has an awkward number of problems, from silted, generic scripting to a completely weightless art style.
Itís ultimate a bland, mediocre spin-off that lacks what made the original that touch better, only really fit for filler material and I doubt that people will be turning that many heads to reminisce about it nostalgically, like they may do with its predecessor.